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Lesson Plan

Using Science Texts to Teach the Organizational Features of Nonfiction

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three to five 40-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Emily Manning

Emily Manning

Denton, Texas


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology






  • 10-15 nonfiction science texts from list of nonfiction science books

  • General classroom supplies (markers, crayons, pencils, paper)

  • Large sheets of chart or butcher paper

  • Sticky notes

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1. Collect a variety of science texts from your school or public library (see the list of nonfiction science books for some suggestions). As you are gathering books, look for ones with organizational features that will stand out for students. For younger students, make sure that the text does not overwhelm the organizational features. Supply enough books for children to browse through, or make copies of particularly well-done two-page spreads for students to examine.

2. Select one particularly well-done two-page spread, and prepare a few typed paragraphs detailing the same information that is presented in the spread. In Session 1, students will compare the paragraph text with the two-page spread to see how the organizational features in the spread make the information more accessible to the reader.

3. As preparation for Session 2, make an overhead of a two-page spread from a science text. In addition, prepare index cards with each one listing a different organizational feature (see organizational features of nonfiction texts). Put the index cards in a paper bag or box.

4. In the elementary grades, it is imperative that students have and share experiences in science to gain knowledge about the world around them. Visit the Square of Life website and read the teacher information to find out how your class can participate in this Internet-based project. As part of the project, students investigate their local environment and share their information with other students around the country and the world. Students will need to have completed a majority of this Internet project before beginning this lesson, as they will use the information they gathered and submitted online to create their two-page spread.

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